Britain called to sanction Nigeria's government officials over Christian persecution

Women displaced by Boko Haram's attacks waiting for food at St Theresa Catholic Church, Yola.World Watch Monitor

The UK Government is being urged to impose sanctions on Nigerian government officials "turning a blind eye" to the slaughter of Christians in the West African country.

Ayo Adedoyin, Chief Executive of PSJ UK, said that the UK Government must take action to protect Nigeria's Christian population after decades of deadly attacks.

PSJ UK, which is campaigning on behalf of Nigerian Christians, is the co-author of a new report warning that extremists may have been responsible for the deaths of up to 100,000 Christians in Nigeria over the last two decades.

The report, co-authored by ICON and the International Freedom of Religion or Belief APPG, warns that Nigeria has suffered more violent incidents and deaths than the rest of the entire West Africa region.

The violence is attributed to radical militant groups like Boko Haram and al-Qaeda, as well as radical Fulani herdsmen.

Mr Adedoyin said that Nigeria's Christians were facing a "catastrophe".

"This situation cannot be tolerated," he said.

"Tens of thousands of Christians have been murdered in Nigeria and many thousands more have been subjected to vicious assault."

The report cites the findings of a new Savanta ComRes poll which finds strong public support in the UK for tougher action.

Around half of UK adults said they would support the withholding of British foreign aid to Nigeria over the persecution of Christians, while three in five said they would support sanctions on individuals responsible for human rights abuses.

Mr Adedoyin added: "The British government must do more to support Nigerian Christians and should apply sanctions to the members of the Nigerian government that are, at best, turning a blind eye to this ongoing catastrophe."